Good news, folks: apparently, pumpkin spice season has arrived early this year.
Indeed, despite the fact that temperatures across the U.S. are still well above the 90°F mark, google searches for "pumpkin spice lattes" are soaring, PSL products are already cropping up left and right on supermarket shelves, and our social feeds are already flooded with creamy spices coffees, smoothies, and pumpkin pancakes. And as of yesterday, you officially can go order one at Starbucks.
Unfortunately, many of us have had to come to terms with the fact that most coffee shop PSLs—though so delicious they have an entire season named after them—are hardly health foods. "Although pumpkin itself is loaded with nutrients, the pumpkin spice lattes traditionally served at coffee shops are artificially sweetened and contain little, if any, real pumpkin,” certified holistic health coach Kara Mosseso previously told Well+Good. "The combination of the caffeine from the espresso and that high refined-sugar load with no fiber to balance it out will give you an initial energy jolt, but will leave you crashing soon after. Not to mention, refined sugar causes a lot of inflammation in the body.” And according to Starbucks, a grande-sized drink has 50 grams of sugar, which is twice the amount that the American Heart Association suggests consuming in an entire day.
Suddenly finding yourself looking for a healthy spin on the seasonal latte you can DIY at home? Look no further than this recipe from Lily Kunin. The Clean Food Dirty City founder and Well+Good Council member only uses seven ingredients to create her version of the classic fall drink. It's packed with anti-inflammatory benefits, too—the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves used in the tea you'll brew have all been shown to fight inflammation in the body.
"Ginger reduces inflammation and also improves intestinal function," Will Bulsiewicz, MD, a gastroenterologist and the author of Fiber Fueled, previously told Well+Good. Ginger has long been used to reduce gas and bloating because is has phenolic compounds which are known to relieve irritation in the GI tract. "Cinnamon [also] has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in addition to protecting against metabolic disorders, like diabetes," says Dr. Bulsiewicz.
The best part? This easy pumpkin spice latte with give you all the warm fuzzies—without the refined sugar.
Lily Kunin's Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
Yield: 1 serving
3/4 cup Bengal spice or chai tea
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp organic pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2–1 tsp raw honey
1/4 tsp pure vanilla
Dash of cinnamon
1. While you brew your Bengal spice or chai tea, gently heat the almond milk and pumpkin puree on the stove until very warm.
2. Add almond milk mixture, tea, pumpkin pie spice, honey, and vanilla to the blender.
3. Blend until frothy (about 15 seconds), top with cinnamon, and serve immediately.
Not that you need it, but here are 7 science-backed reasons that support your PSL habit. Plus, one pretty cute way to share the (healthy) obsession with your dog.
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